Enable Successful Turnarounds with These 8 Tips for Taking Advantage of Today's Technology

By Greg Alvarado, Chief Editor at Inspectioneering. March 2, 2015

toolboxThere is a lot of great technology currently available to us in the private sector, such as personal cell phones and telecommunication devices, including television, automobile features, e-mail, text messaging, data sharing, cloud storage, etc. We also read about it in gaming, aerospace and defense programs. Some show immediate value and some, like cell phones, show huge value over time, when it initially seemed like only a convenience, as if this value is downplayed as a convenience. Of course we now see the huge value these technologies provide.

Here are 8 recommendations to help you take full advantage of some of today’s technologies at your facility that can enable the shortest, most effective and successful turnarounds possible. Another advantage is that these new technologies can actually remove subjectivity related to “lessons learned” and improve future planning with more accurate, detailed information for your next turnaround or CAPEX event.

  1. Begin with the end in mind. Make sure you know what types of automated and static reports, alerts, and documentation you want to have access to for maximum value. This will point you to the right data, send data to the right places, and keep the right people alerted and informed. It will also help eliminate re-work and costs associated with establishing effective work and communications processes and frameworks.
  2. Establish work processes. If you don’t already have a defined work process, have a realistic understanding of how work should flow and consider logic for deviations, etc. You already have an idea who needs to know what. Now semi or fully automate those communications and data sharing processes. Remember to include: alerts, notifications, KPIs (from across all desired platforms), dashboards, etc. Create a closed loop, semi-automated communications and reporting framework. Communications will be between people, people to platforms, and platform to platform. It should also include contractors.
  3. Highlight best practices. Identify your best practices so they can be built right into your work instructions.
  4. Select technology that is customizable. Use software tools that are easily and quickly tailored and updated to match the desired experience. This will make them much more intuitive, accepted by users quickly, and reflect the best practices and context you want.  Start realizing return on investment very quickly!
  5. Make sure you can actually make desired changes. Make sure software tools can be updated by your subject matter experts without the need to re-engage the software company or outside consultants. This minimizes costs and speeds the process considerably.  It enables you to maintain, execute, and manage the continuous improvement process yourself. Furthermore, it’s a quicker path to the field to realize the benefits.
  6. Ensure technology meets safety requirements. Understand what level of explosion proof equipment is acceptable for field tools such as smart phones and tablets. Tools are available up to Class 1 Div. 1, and although they may seem expensive at the outset, they are probably well worth the investment. Perhaps it is even worth the investment for some independent inspectors and inspection companies to invest in them. Just a thought, but maybe a contract API 510, 570 or 653 inspector’s “stock” increases if this is part of what comes with him/her. You may need to challenge safety policies where you see inconsistencies. Always get device requirements from the proper authorities and discuss any desired deviations with them for approval.
  7. Use software that can handle the details. Use a system that has full traceability for communications (e.g. automated e-mails, SMS, data entry, interaction, etc.) and is flexible in the level of detail handled. This will come in handy for many good reasons, including benchmarking, removing guesswork and subjectivity, reporting and regulatory requirements, identification of best practices and deviations, etc.
  8. Select technology that is compatible and fully integrateable into existing systems. Use a system that will communicate across all the platforms you desire in order to get maximum value from your data, people, tools, experience, etc. from management reports, to KPIs and dashboarding, to technical triggers (e.g. IOWs), etc.

This is all achievable with today’s technology. Begin with the end in mind!


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